Honda can’t seem to keep enough Groms on dealership floors, and considering its $3,199 price tag, it’s easy to see why. For those in urban environments, college towns, or both, the Grom represents an extremely affordable way to blast through town on a fun and compact motorcycle. Its appeal widens even further when you take into account first-time riders who want to learn the fundamentals of two-wheeling on a motorcycle that isn’t the least bit intimidating.
Whatever else is going on at Honda these days (a lot), you have to admit they’ve got the reliable urban transpo thing down to an art form. And one of our favorites is the PCX150, newly upgraded for 2015 with fresh new bodywork, dual headlights and a bigger gas tank. The PCX slots nicely in between the 541-pound Silver Wing (too big), the Forza (nearly $6000) and the Ruckus and Metropolitan on the other end (50cc scooters are just toooo slow). We haven’t had a chance to ride the upgraded 2015 PCX150 yet, but we’re happy to go out on a limb and bet it’s even better than the previous model – especially since it sells for the same $3,449 as before.
Ever since the Honda CBR250R came on the scene, the beginner sportbike war has been hotly contested between it and the Kawasaki Ninja 250/300. While the latest Ninja has a bigger engine and an extra cylinder, the CBR20R has a nicer price. At $4,199, it undercuts the green machine by $800 – a not insignificant amount of change. For just over four large, the Honda provides a sprightly fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 249.6cc single-cylinder engine.
For 2013, Honda replaced the dated CRF230L with the CRF250L. The CRF250L uses a 249cc Single borrowed from the CBR250R streetbike, tuned to provide improved low- and mid-range performance, making it more suitable to the lower-rpm demands of off-road riding. The 250 not only serves as a replacement for the outgoing CRF230L, the 250 will make you forget the 230 ever existed.
Honda’s 500cc middleweight duo, the naked CB500F and the sporty CBR500R, fill a mid-size displacement gap between smallish 250cc beginner bikes and larger 600cc supersport weapons. Similarly priced at $5,799 and $6,299 for the F and R, respectively, the bikes represent reliable and fun transportation that’s also economical and attractive. Introduced last year, the CB500F and R have struck a chord with the eco-minded younger generation that are also image-aware and price-conscious.
Is Honda’s CTX700N a cruiser without chrome and leather or a standard with a cruiser’s seat height and riding position? We don’t know, but Big Red’s plan of attracting new riders, who may not fit into motorcycling’s usual tribes, to the sport seems like a good idea. The equation is a simple one: Take a friendly 670cc parallel-Twin, put it in a smart-looking chassis with a low seat height, make it easy/fun to ride, and give it a $6,999 base price. Who cares if the bike doesn’t fit in traditional categories?
Honda’s Shadow line of cruisers has been around since 1983 and has featured models displacing as much as 1100cc, but now the Shadow line consists of just four 745cc V-Twin motorcycles. Priced at only $10 per cc, all four models start from the same basic chassis and engine before being outfit with various combinations of wheels and bodywork designed to appeal to different cruiser riders. For this test, we decided to go over to the Dark Side with the Shadow Phantom, which embraces the blacked-out theme trending these days. Its MSRP was reduced from $8,240 for 2014 to match its Shadow brothers.
Short for “New Concept,” the Honda NC700X is a utilitarian motorcycle forging a unique path in this landscape. Speed isn’t its main focus. Instead, being the one bike capable of many things is where its value lies. Its narrow profile makes it capable of slicing through traffic, and its 670cc parallel-Twin engine has enough grunt to easily outpace cars trying to jockey for position on the road. The on-board storage compartment proves especially nice if you need to make a small grocery run. Fit the optional luggage (saddlebags and top case), and you almost have enough room for a trip to Costco! Conveniently, at $7,799, the NC700X won’t break the bank, allowing you to splurge at the aforementioned bargain warehouse on 83 rolls of toilet paper.